Chance encounters can change your life, provided you remain open to meeting new people and having new experiences.

Jessica Robertson, the 267th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, is living proof.

On Jess’s first day at her first real job, she met a woman who asked if Jess wanted to join her for lunch. That was the start of a strong friendship – and now, a quarter of a century later, they’re about to go into business together.

A few years later, on a night out in Sydney, she started talking to an Australian expat who was visiting from Hong Kong. Later, Jess moved to Hong Kong and they eventually married.

Jess sees the world as a big, fascinating place. She thrives on human connection and trying new things.

During her career, Jess has specialised in marketing and communications. She also has a lot of management experience and excellent people skills.

So that explains why Jess’s long-time friend, who owns a successful marketing agency called The Collective Co., tapped up Jess to open a new branch in northern Sydney.

Jess’s role will be to expand the customer base, hire a team and manage client projects.

I loved chatting with Jess. She reminded me how much richer our lives become when we open ourselves up to new people and experiences.